Alright you guys, I’m about to get really real with you.
This morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. As I was sipping on my cold brew, hair still disheveled, Nina curled up next to me, I casually scrolled through my Instagram feed for what may have been a full hour. Now, being on Instagram is obviously a huge part of my job… but as of late I’ve been feeling rather drained by it. The algorithm, the highlight reels, the need for “more, more, more,” — it’s all very powerful stuff. Just a few weeks ago after a fun event I went out for coffee with another blogger. During our conversation she mentioned that she “just wanted to get to 10,000 followers (mostly to get access to the swipe up feature).” I told her that the sad thing is, I used to feel that way too. But the reality is, once you hit 10K, you’ll just want to hit 20K, and from there the hunger for growth just continues.
Now I know saying all this is pretty taboo in the blogging world but let’s face it, at the end of the day, this is a business. And the business depends a lot on three things: the quality of your content, the size of your audience, and how engaged said audience is. When you’re just one micro-influencer in a sea of thousands it can be difficult to get noticed and to prove your worth to brands if and when they inquire to work with you.
The growing pains that come with building a business can become pretty mentally exhausting and it’s so easy for the imperfect human in us to come out. This usually manifests in one huge way:
We’re really, really hard on ourselves.
It’s no surprise that we’re our own toughest critic. We’re the ones scrutinizing every move we make, judging ourselves for our failures, setting high expectations (some realistic and some not so realistic), holding ourselves to a set timeline, and we’re the first ones to point out what we consider our “flaws.” No matter what business you’re in, what age, gender, ethnicity, or place in the world you may live… this is one very human quality I think the majority of us can relate to.
I wish there was a simple guide to stop being so hard on yourself but as with most things, there isn’t some magical cure. The good things is, I have found several ways to keep the feelings of self-doubt from spiraling into anything destructive.
In my opinion, the biggest key to combating self-doubt is learning to live with more self-compassion.
Although self-compassion and self-love may just sound like a bunch of hippy, mumbo jumbo, it’s the ONLY way we can truly live our best life! I hope the following tips help serve as little reminders whenever you’re feeling particularly hard on yourself. Sometimes the simplest mental shifts can have the biggest impact.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Protect your energy. If the people around you are more apt to find the glass half empty rather than half full, chances are that negativity will eventually rub off on you. The more you listen to them judge themselves or others, the easier it’ll be for you to start joining in. Of course everyone has their moments when they need to vent or they have something going on in their lives that isn’t pleasant, in which case you absolutely should be there for them. But if you’re besties with someone who is always a debbie downer, you may want to reevaluate how much time you spend with them during the times you’re feeling particularly hard on yourself.
In the same breath, you should feel comfortable to reach out to your friends and other positive people whenever you’re going through a tough time! Major shoutout to my girl @ShannaTyler for listening to my little rant this morning. Her kind words and uplifting nature really helped me to snap out of my funk and move about my day with a much better attitude. And it also inspired this post!
Take Time To Unplug
Sometimes getting away from the source of whatever is making you feel particularly hard on yourself is all you need to feel refreshed and renewed. If you keep judging yourself harshly for something that’s going on at work, maybe it’s time to take a day off and get away from the office. Or if the source of frustration is social media, you can set limits for how many times you can check it per day or if you’re feeling up for it, maybe do a full social media detox for a weekend. When we’re able to step away from the thing that is causing us to doubt ourselves we’re able to enjoy the other things in life that are worth celebrating. Which brings me to my next tip…
Celebrate The Small Successes
We’re a society that’s all about celebrating the big milestones in life, but what about all the small steps in-between? So what if you haven’t reached the goal you set for yourself in the time frame you gave yourself? What about all the other things you achieved leading up to it? In the case of blogging, it can be anything from the friendships you’ve made, the kind comments people have left you, the brands you’ve worked with, the fun events you’ve gone to, the daily connections you make… these are all worth celebrating! It’s more than just numbers.
And if you’re not a blogger, this concept can still be applied to virtually anything in your life! There are so many small successes we can celebrate every day and by acknowledging the efforts we make we can slowly chip away at the fear and doubt that can creep in.
Stop The Comparison
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us.” ~ Romans 12:6
It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy and from what I’ve experienced, no truer statement has been spoken. Envy is a very human emotion and if you feed it, it’ll just continue to manifest into something bigger. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to someone else take a second to pause and reflect on “why” that is. If it’s possible to shift your perspective, try to do so! You can take active steps to congratulate them on their successes and say positive words anytime you see them. Treat them with kindness and compassion and then treat yourself with the same kindness you just doled out to them!
Remember that each of us has our own battles to fight, our own unique backgrounds, and our own stories to tell. What makes you different makes you special and is your biggest strength! Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, try to focus on what you’re doing to reach your own goals. I recently read a quote someone said that stated “I’m too busy watering my own grass to notice how green yours is.” If we could live like that everyday we would never fall into the dark pit of comparison.
Use Positive Affirmations
I’m a little biased with this, but a daily meditation practice helps so much when it comes to proper introspection and also positive affirmation. If you’ve never tried mantra meditation before I highly recommend it! You don’t need anything fancy, just a quiet corner in your home and a comfy place to sit. Create a short phrase (mantra) that combats whatever it is you’ve been judging yourself for. So for example, it can be as simple as “I am enough.” or “I am beautiful.” or “I am capable.” Repeat these words silently to yourself with every full breath cycle!
If meditation isn’t your thing you can still think of positive affirmations that will help empower and give you more self-compassion. Write it down on a sticky note and post it on the bathroom mirror (or maybe on your laptop at work). Seeing a little note of positivity every day can do so much to help us get out of our self-doubt funk.
There you have it! Five little things that can all make a big difference on the road to self-compassion. And I’m not gonna lie, sometimes a hot bath, glass of wine, puppy cuddles, and a cheerful movie or good book can also help do the trick. 😉
And if you’re going through a hard time right now just know that I’m sending lots of positive vibes and love your way. You can do this!
All photos by Wini Lao